December 11, 2012 10:46 AM |
Posted By: Duisberg
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by 2 members
Ich Liebe Britischer Leyland. A theory on why it's hard to love modern German cars.
I have a theory about the vast majority of modern German cars. They’re dependable machines that predictably do what you ask of them, but my theory is this ; you can’t love them. When tootling through Rheinland-Pfalz recently I was deeply surprised to stumble across what appeared to be an outpost of 1970’s British Leyland, the workshop of Klaus Klinghammer, a lanky German who seemingly shares my theory and has a yard full of the least German motors you can imagine.
Outside sat a row of Minis, in various states of decay, some sporting crash damage. There was a pair of MG Metro Turbos with red seat belts and flaking decals and a pair of Triumph 2000s with flat paint all waiting for some Teutonic TLC. Under one tarpaulin was a rare Austin 1300 GT and another covered an Austin 1100 estate, the type once thrashed by a branch by John Cleese. I got chatting to Klaus about his unusual business. He is a BL specialist for the area with an intimate knowledge of the *ahem* quality quirks of cars that your Dad probably drove until he bought something German because he wanted stuff that worked.
Klaus was working on a bare-metal restoration of a Mini Traveller, a k-series install in another Mini and had a lovely Italian-plated Dolomite Sprite in for work. My mate Dr Octane was tumescent. There were rows of panels neatly stacked, tools for putting right Longbridge’s wrongs and some ace retro signage. He had, unsurprisingly, enough welding kit to put the Titanic back together. I couldn’t help but grin when he proudly told me he’d once been to Leeds to buy a rotten Rover SD1 Vitesse and Braintree to collect a dead Metro. I asked him if the Metro isn’t a little bit, well, y’know, crap ? He smiled and corrected me “Not just crap. The best crap” before enthusing about suspension, steering and styling. Everything BL seemed fixable to him, panels just bolt on, rust can be repaired and the engines are tough and simple. What was clear is that this isn’t just a business for Klaus. It’s a fixation with fundamentally flawed designs, an obsession with fixing wonky, a real pity he wasn’t running BL back in Dad’s day.
We took the pics you see here and packed up, Klaus closing up shop for the day and folding himself into a RHD but German plated BRG MG Metro, smoking off with a smile. Maybe you can’t love German cars, but you’ve gotta love German petrolheads.
More pics and similar twaddle here > http://www.sucksqueezebangblow.net/folder/